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Documents you need to set up an estate plan

On Behalf of | Apr 5, 2024 | Estate Planning

Deciding to set up an estate plan is a wise and responsible decision. An estate plan helps ensure your loved ones will be taken care of after you pass away and provides you with a sense of security knowing that your financial affairs are in order.

However, whether this is your first time setting up an estate plan or you are updating a current estate plan, you might not know where to begin. Whoever is helping you with your estate plan is likely to need some information and documentation.

Assess your estate planning needs first

Before you start gathering documents, determine what you would like to set up as part of your estate plan. Most people want a will, but a trust or powers of attorney are also key pieces of an estate plan that you should not overlook.

When you decide on the components of your estate plan, there are some basic documents that can get you started.

Obtain copies of any current estate planning documents you already have in place. Before you make updates to your estate plan, you should know exactly what you are updating.

Create a written list of all your assets. You may not believe you have enough assets to bother with this step, but you probably have more than you think. Assets include real estate, personal property, vehicles or bank accounts.

When you have your asset list complete, obtain account statements from any bank or other financial accounts to learn their current value.

Insurance policies and contracts

Collect copies of any current insurance policies, particularly life insurance or any other policies that allow you to designate a beneficiary. Obtain a copy of your beneficiary designations.

Gather any other contracts you have that involve disposition of your assets, such as a business or pre-nuptial agreement.

In addition to copies of these documents, it is best to have login information for your accounts ready. This generally allows the estate planning process to go quickly and smoothly.